South Fulton native retires from VA
Posted: Friday, January 6, 2012 1:07 pm
Michael E. Hamilton, Director at the VA Illiana Health Care System (VAIHCS) retired Dec. 30, 2011, after 29 years with the Department of Veterans Affairs, including nearly four years as the Director at VAIHCS. Hamilton will be returning to Noblesville, Ind. where he and his wife Ada, a retired VA nurse, have lived for several years. He plans to spend more time with his grandson and also write a book.
Hamilton began his VA career as a hospital administrative resident at the VA Medical Center in Allen Park, Mich. He next moved to Big Springs Texas VAMC as assistant to the director. He then served as health system specialist to the director at the Dayton Ohio VAMC. Hamilton was then appointed associate director at the Marion, Ind. VAMC, followed by appointment as senior associate director at Dallas, Texas VAMC. While in Dallas, Hamilton was appointed director at Shreveport, La. VAMC and served there until his retirement. Hamilton then operated a private business in Indianapolis for several years. He next sought and accepted an appointment as the associate director at VA Northern Indiana Health Care System, Marion and Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Hamilton is a U.S. Army veteran and retired Lt. Col. U.S. Army Reserves. A native of South Fulton, Hamilton received his bachelor’s degree in sociology/health, physical education in 1970 from Murray State University and his master’s degree in education in 1972. He also received his master’s degree in health administration in 1978 from Indiana University. He graduated from the Command and General Staff College while in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Hamilton has served on several national and regional VA task forces and advisory groups. He is a Leadership VA graduate and a member of the Senior Executive Service. He has received numerous awards and commendations from city and state level service organizations and from VA. Hamilton received the Golden Horseshoe award from Murray State University as a Distinguished Alumnus. He is a Bronze Star recipient from his military service in South Vietnam. He is a member American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Certified Mentor/Coach.
In April 2008, Hamilton welcomed a chance to become the director at VAIHCS and develop a long-term strategic plan to address the main campus’ infrastructure and other needs. He said he now feels comfortable retiring knowing that a number of projects have been completed and others are on the horizon.
Under Hamilton’s leadership, VAIHCS received a $15M project to replace a 1930 energy plant that used high-pressure steam with three “green” miniature boiler plants that use low-pressure steam and require less staffing. It also completed a $6M renovation of the acute care unit in Building 58, built in 1932, replacing three and four bed patient rooms with communal restrooms with single and double bedrooms each with their own restroom.
The facility recently opened two homes (Freedom & Liberty Houses) on the campus at the VA. This $3.9M project gives nursing home patients skilled care in a more dignified, home-like setting, making it the first VA facility in the nation to do so. Plans call for three more homes that are currently being designed.
In addition, the facility has made other renovations including opening a healing garden for the Community Living Center (nursing home) Veterans.
Hamilton said there are plans in place to partner with Mercy Housing in Chicago, to build on the VA campus a 65-unit apartment complex with one, two and three bedroom units and an 11,000-square-foot community center for homeless Veterans and their families.
“I have had the good fortune to work for a great organization – the Department of Veterans Affairs. Being a veteran myself, I cannot think of a more noble cause for a career than by serving and honoring our returning heroes who have made this country what it is today,” says Hamilton.